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Developing an Effective Training and Development Program, Part 1: Organizational Structure

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Many creators of training programs fail to consider the company’s organizational structure and culture and instead employ a one-size-fits-all approach, which can be damaging to both the training program and the overall health and safety program. There may be many structural components of an organization that may be considered, but I want to focus on three: organizational design, decision autonomy and the division of labor. These components are critical as they each provide vital contributions to lifeblood of the organization.

Organizational Design

Organizational design has to do with the administration of rules, procedures and policies that determine and direct employee behavior and influence company culture.

The implementation of organizational design can vary from specific and rigid to a more organic approach. Both approaches can be effective. The organic approach allows for greater flexibility and fluidity, which subsequently allows for greater creativity, while a more rigid approach often yields greater efficiency and smoother systems.

It is important that an organization’s training program be designed in accordance with the organization’s design style. If the organization is set up to harbor creativity and nurture free thinking, the training program should encourage and develop this. An organization that sets rigid standards and protocols, meanwhile, would be better served following a methodical and fixed approach to training.

Decision Autonomy

Decision autonomy addresses the amount of discretion given to employees in the completion of their respective work tasks and their influence in organizational goals and processes.

Some organizations allow a high amount of freedom in the decisions and activities of their employees, while others manage and observe every decision and process that employees are involved in. Organizations that allow employees to be involved in decision-making benefit from including training on sound decision-making and efficiency. On the other hand, organizations that rely on managed decision-making should focus on providing training that creates trust and communication between the employee and management.

Regardless of the organizational value regarding decision-making protocols, it is critical that employees be trained to keep with the organization’s value system.

Division of Labor

The method in which an organization divides into labor force and work units (departments) is its division of labor.

As business processes and sustainability efforts evolve, many organizations also have evolved in the manner that their work units are divided and utilized. Some organizations divide their labor based on geography, some do so based on the customer or product base being serviced, and most divide labor from management. The training program should be developed with this in mind. Every part of an organization is not constituted in the same manner, thus the training program for that division of labor should not be constituted in the same manner.

Just as it is necessary to appropriately target the training audience through a comprehensive training needs assessment, it is equally important to specifically address the needs of an organization. Not all organizations are built the same; neither should their training and development program.

Continue on to Part 2 of this series, which focuses on implementing knowledge, skills and attitudes in the training objectives.

Source: Blanchard, N.P., & Thacker, J. (2010). Effective training, systems, strategies and practices.(Custom 4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

The postings on this site represent the author's personal opinions and do not represent or reflect the opinions, positions or strategies of AECOM Technology Corp. or its subsidiaries or affiliated entities.

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